Credit: Ka Leung


Louise Wylie asks, how on earth is Irn Bru meant to “get you through” with any less than 10.3 grams of sugar in every glass?

The end of the world is nigh. Irn Bru has taken the motto “new year, new me” to heart and unlike everyone else on the planet, they’re sticking to their resolutions. The iconic recipe has been changed. From now on the delicacy will be made with half the sugar - a miserly four teaspoons per can. The rest of the sweetness will come from artificial additives, and not of the rust variety. This is nothing short of a national disaster. It would never have happened in an independent Scotland.

It doesn’t matter that initial taste tests have suggested that most people can’t tell the difference between the old and new recipes. Put that to one side for a moment. The real affront has to be that Irn Bru producers AG Barrs gave in. They resigned themselves to the change in legislation on soft drinks which has imposed a draconian sugar tax and dramatically altered their perfect recipe without a whimper. What kind of Scottish figureheads are they? Scots are obstinate. We cut our nose off to spite our face. We never listen to well-meaning advice or wise guidelines, especially when it comes to our health.

Our treasured national drink advertises itself as being made from girders and we drink it by the bucket. “Health food” is not in our vocabulary. We are the nation which invented the pizza crunch. Our gallows humour is only made funnier by the knowledge that our gallows are fast approaching. I’m not ready to give all that up just for reduced sugar content and increased life expectancy. Give me another 40 years with original Irn Bru or give me (an even swifter) death.

Irn Bru is more than a drink – it’s an experience. Drinking it simply won’t be the same without the mad sugar rush and occasional heart palpitations that wake me up in the morning. Artificial additives strip away some of the heart of the drink in the name of protecting my heart, when I never asked to be saved. Sometimes the ones you love the most are the ones who hurt you the most, but that doesn’t mean I’m willing to abandon all I have with classic Irn Bru for the sake of self-preservation. When I’m hangin’ and the roll and tattie scone just isn’t cutting it, where else will I turn now that my trusted Irn Bru has stabbed me in the back? How on earth is it meant to “get you through” with anything less than 10.3 grams of sugar in every glass?

Sugary Irn Bru is the backbone of this country. Without it, children wouldn’t have the energy to kick a ball about due to the adverse effects of never having seen the sun. Deprived of the fizzy goodness, the organs of chronically MWI people would wither and fail before the off-licence reopens. Wee old ladies wouldn’t even have the drive to unwrap their decades old Tunnock’s Tea Cake if not spurred on by the sweetness of good old-fashioned Irn Bru.

Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose is how the French goes, but I disagree. Despite the similarity in taste, despite the lingering sweetness, in my heart of hearts I know I will feel a difference. Love never feels the same way twice. With this all in mind however, to be 100% honest, there’s no chance in hell that I’ll stop drinking the liquid gold, the fiery king. For one thing, withdrawal at this stage would likely kill me almost instantly, and for another, the love I feel for the drink is the purest ever witnessed on earth. And it’s no wonder why - it’s fizzy, it’s ginger, and it’s phenomenal!

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